DID YOU EVER wonder how much our creative “offspring,” those ideas, innovations, or enterprises we personally give birth to, reflect or reveal who we are as individuals?
That question occurred to me just a few minutes ago when I came across a story I wrote years back, stream-of-consciousness style, scribbling it atop the collage at left. Is my character, Arthur Thomson, really me?
Arthur Thomson was, by his own account, a self-made man. In fact, he claims to have made everything: muscle tissue, hair fibre, even the celluloid stays in his shirt collars.
He would, on some occasions, assume a dramatic pose atop the most convenient platform and announce, “Oh gracious. I seem to have broken a tooth. Well, no matter. I’ll just make another.”
Despite the sound of it, he was not a vainglorious man, he just labored under the delusion that he created himself from whole cloth.
As the years passed, he took credit for more and more of those things that surrounded him, even to the point of vowing at one church potluck dinner that he had made the potatoes; not just boiled, peeled, mashed and buttered them, but made them.
His “productivity” reached its apex, however on his 73rd birthday when he made the rounds about town, appearing at every door, neighbors’ and strangers’ alike, with a young boy in tow; one that Arthur claimed to have thrown together out in the shed from spare tractor parts.
Pictured above: “Arthur Thomson” (1997) Collage of tin type and photographic print, copper nails, rose hips, book papers, and ink. Dimensions: 5-3/8″x8-1/2″ front, 10-3/4″x8-1/2″ inside.